As a child, names were very important. It represented who you are. It represented the nature of your speed attacks during tag and the type of friends who will eventually be hanging out with for most of your life. For the unfortunate ones, it may have led to constant dissing and ending up under your bed crying to yourself as to why the Gods were so unkind.
A little boy who forgot his name. Well, that’s a special case. A child who pretends to be an adult holds his name with pride and dignity. An adult who is in fact a little boy on the inside, tends to misuse it and treat it carelessly when it really is meant to be a secret.
But when the child in the adult begins to finally grow up, names are forgotten and altogether, unimportant.
The Peter Pan in the Doctor grew up one day, a few hundred years ago… And his name remained a question not an answer. Silence will fall when the question is asked. The very first question since the beginning of time. The question that was hidden in plain sight.
The silence meaning the Doctor’s silence. His ultimate silence. His death.
At that point of time, his old mind was oblivious. He was stupid enough to think of anyone but himself.
And now when he racked that brilliant mind of his, he found it hard to remember.
In all his memories; the very thing that identified himself as a person of unique qualities. The very thing that made him special was left inaudible like it never existed – erased by a careless man who thought that he could run away from time.
Many people who’ve encountered him had said that he didn’t need one. The Doctor was fitting enough. Strange and witty and utterly ridiculous. Something that matched him perfectly.
And yet, it never truly satisfied him. There were times when he would abruptly laugh out loud in a quiet room.
I can’t even remember my own name!
‘Said the man who remembered everything else in existence.’
If River were still here, she would have laughed with him. The only living being who earned the privilege of knowing his name, now, as dead as dust.
“Is this how it feels like to be unborn?” the Doctor mused.
Clueless and completely nameless.
Even though, he was very sure that babies were better off than him.
Despite everything, he vaguely remembered his life as a child on the planet of Galifrey – his home world. Reminiscing never failed to bring a tear or two to his old eyes. He had run away like the coward he was… And with that, his planet died along with his name.
Names remained unimportant since then. It brought back memories that were meant to be locked away for ever. Until one day, he came along with a key. It was inevitable, really. As a lonely man, who had no friends, he needed his own thoughts or may he be insane.
It doesn’t really make a difference. I already am.
He had dwelled on them for so long as if remembering then really hard would eventually bring them back. He knew he could have done it with a less of a hassle. He had his TARDIS. All he had to do, was not steal her in the first place… But he knew what that would have meant. The Doctor would cease to exist. And that was the only thought which felt more painful than all of his memories combined together.
It was somewhere between time when he heard something faint in his tired ears. His mind was aching by then, and yet, he still strained to hear that small voice. It was soft and sad and very, very, far away. He ran to his TARDIS’ window and pressed his face against it, trying to look for the caller but much to his dismay, he was greeted with the usual emptiness of the beautiful galaxy.
He groaned he sunk down to the floor. He so, so tired. When suddenly,
His ears perked up. He knew that voice. He knew that voice so very very very well! He swallowed and listened again, just to be sure.
Doctor. Doctor. Doctor!
He leapt with joy and bounded up to his console and pulled down the enormous lever.
It was then, he made an oath. He would find it. He would find his name like an old man in the body of a young one. He would search and search and make sure that the very corners of time and space were not left untouched.
And he knew exactly where to begin.
One thousand years into the past,
lived a little boy who forgot his name…until a strange man appeared on his doorstep one fine day. He was so familiar yet so foreign. A peculiar feeling washed over him – it was almost as if he wasn’t allowed to meet this man yet. Because this boy knew nothing of this man and this man seemed to know everything about this boy. He walked as if he had memorized the patterns of the very floor beneath him.
Little did the boy know, that the Doctor seemed to always leave this impression on people – the same goes for himself.
“Knock, knock!” the familiar voice called.
The little boy rushed to the door and tumbled out.
‘Who’s there?” he asked as he tried to catch his breath. At the same time, his eyes that were already as big as saucers widened some more as he gaped in recognition.
The Doctor smiled smugly and feigned a look of surprise while his bright old eyes narrowed suspiciously.
“Very good! You’re one of those people who are really good with names, aren’t you?”
Because he certainly wasn’t.
“Will you help me?” he asked.
His younger self nodded. He loved adventures.
The Doctor nodded back. He loved adventures too and he knew their consequences.
“What shall I call you?,” said the small boy. He didn’t ask for his name.
The Doctor turned and gave him a sidelong glance.
“Did I make you a whole lot happier?”
The boy kept his distance and nodded vigorously.
The strange man’s eyes twinkled like the stars he used to walk on.
“Then, I am the Doctor.”